Minamisanriku Fishing Cooperatives Shine at Wakame Auction
March 8, 2012 – Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative President Norio Sasaki and Udatsu Fishing Cooperative President Funabiki Chiba, both of Minamisanriku, travelled to Kesennuma on February 28 to represent their members at the first wakame seaweed auction since the northeast Japan earthquake and tsunami nearly one year ago. The auction was a significant milestone for a fishing industry that continues to recover along the hard hit Sanriku Coast.
This year a delighted President Sasaki took home the highest bid from wholesalers, good news for Shizugawa Cooperative members that lost so much to the March 11 tsunami. The Udatsu Fishing Cooperative President Chiba secured the third highest wholesaler bid and two thousand yen more than he expected. President Chiba struggled to hold back tears as he reflected on post-tsunami challenges and thanked supporters for their role in reviving wakame production.
Peace Winds began supporting both Minamisanriku Fishing Cooperatives in April 2011. Initial support helped restart the Fishing Cooperative operations. Subsequent assistance focused on the seasonal needs of Fishing Cooperative members, including the provision of wakame planting and harvesting supplies. Peace Winds continues to partner with the Shizugawa and Udatsu Fishing Cooperatives in order to restore livelihoods and accelerate economic recovery for Minamisanriku’s most vital industry.